Winter Car Safety and Traveling Tips
Winter is off to a brutally cold start and the subzero temperatures can make travel hazardous. It’s important to adequately prepare for traveling in winter weather. Here are some tips to make sure you and your family stay safe, warm and healthy this winter.
1. Ensure your vehicle is in good working order. A breakdown in cold weather can mean headaches and exposure to potentially unsafe conditions. Take your car in for regular maintenance and address recommendations, including wipers and defrost capabilities. Tires should be in good condition – this is not an area to cut costs. Tires provide traction and keep you on the road in slick conditions.
2. Supplies. Whether in your trunk or the inside of your car, make sure you pack the following items:
- Warm clothes (boots, gloves and hat)
- Hand/foot warmers
- Car safety kit (includes jumper cables, stopped vehicle flares or reflectors and a flashlight)
- Extra container of windshield wiper fluid
- Ice/snow scraper
- Protein bars or other non perishable food
- Phone charger
3. Communicate. When travelling, make sure someone knows where you are going and when to expect you.
4. Plan route. Know how long it will take you to travel, and allow extra time for inclement weather. Take the roads most likely to be clear. Preferably, avoid traveling altogether during bad weather.
5. Drive only if fit. If you are too tired, ill or have had alcohol, it is not a good idea to drive. Winter conditions may call for sharp reaction time, which may be reduced if you don’t feel 100 percent. If possible, rotate driving responsibility to keep the drivers fresh.
6. Drive cautiously. It should seem obvious, but many people don’t make adjustments to their driving habits for the winter. Allow extra room for stopping, drive at reduced speeds to account for conditions, don’t change lanes frequently and use your turn signals.
For most of the year, we simply jump into our cars and take off with little pre-planning. But as the temperatures drop, taking simple precautions can help protect you and your family from harm.